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Meet Eliseo Medina, labor movement leader and Irvine board member

Labor Day weekend holds special meaning for my family, offering a moment to reflect on our journey immigrating from Mexico to California’s Central Valley. We set down roots in Fresno County, where we worked on farms and experienced the pride that comes from working the land.

My family’s experience remains a strong influence on my career and my role as the Irvine Foundation’s board Chair. Our singular goal — a California where all low-income workers have the power to advance economically — is something I strongly believe because I have seen it happen in my own family and community. Fresno has benefitted from a deep history of labor movements in the region, and a continued commitment to protecting and advancing the rights of workers means those gains can endure.

I am honored that my time on Irvine’s board has allowed me to learn from leaders – past and present – who advocate for workers paid low wages, and I am especially grateful that I get to call Eliseo Medina a partner in this work.

Eliseo came to the United States from Mexico with his mother and siblings to join their father, who was an immigrant farm worker. Eliseo’s career as a labor activist began in 1965 when he participated in the historic United Farm Workers’ (UFW) strike in Delano, and his interests in organizing led him to hold leadership roles with UFW and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).

I hope you’ll take a couple minutes to watch the short video below and learn about Eliseo and his commitment to Irvine’s North Star.

Masthead photo credit: Samanta Helou Hernandez